Google boss becomes highest-paid in US

Sundar Pichai,Image copyright
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The chief executive of Google, Sundar Pichai, has been awarded $199m (£138m) in shares, a regulatory filing has revealed.

It makes him the highest-paid chief executive in the US.

Mr Pichai became chief executive of the search engine giant following the creation of its parent, Alphabet.

The founders of Google, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, have amassed fortunes of $34.6bn and $33.9bn, according to Forbes.

Mr Pichai was awarded 273,328 Alphabet shares on 3 February, worth a total of $199m, according to a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

The new award of shares takes Mr Pichai’s total stock value to approximately $650m.

Mr Pichai’s share award will vest incrementally each quarter until 2019. In other words, full control over the shares will pass to him on a gradual basis.

The top ten highest paid US chief executives of 2015

  1. John Hammergren, pharmaceutical firm McKesson: $131.2m
  2. Ralph Lauren, founder of fashion house Ralph Lauren: $66.7m
  3. Michael Fascitelli, real estate investment trust Vornado Realty: $64.4m
  4. Richard Kinder, energy infrastructure firm Kinder Morgan: $60.9m
  5. David Cote, conglomerate Honeywell: $55.8m
  6. George Paz, pharmaceutical services firm Express Scripts: $51.5m*
  7. Jeffery H Boyd, travel and tourism website $50.2m*
  8. Stephen Hemsley, US health insurance firm UnitedHealth Group: $48.8m*
  9. Clarence P Cazalot, Marathon Oil: $43.7m
  10. John C Martin, biotech company Gilead Sciences: $$43.2m

Source: Forbes magazine. Figures include shares awards the individual vested in the year

*Previous year’s total compensation.

It comes at a time of heightened scrutiny of Google’s tax affairs, following the company’s deal with HM Revenue Customs to pay back taxes dating from 2005.

The controversial tax deal was labelled derisory by Labour. Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell called for greater transparency, saying it looked like a “sweetheart deal”.

“HMRC seems to have settled for a relatively small amount in comparison with the overall profits that are made by the company in this country. And some of the independent analysts have argued that it should be at least 10 times this amount,” he said.

Critics say Google generated sales of £24bn ($34.6bn) in the UK between 2005 and 2014, with an estimated profit of about £7.2bn each year on those sales.

Last week, Alphabet – Google’s parent company – surpassed Apple as the world’s most valuable firm after it reported a profit of $4.9bn (£3.4bn) in the three months to the end of December, an increase from $4.7bn a year ago.

On an annual basis, Alphabet made $16.3bn, but the figures showed that the “Other Bets” business lost $3.6bn during the period, while Google’s operating income rose to $23.4bn, as online advertising increased.

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